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Fantasy News: Week 1 Edition

Here we go: the new season is just revving up. Are you ready for it? Here’s some news to get you started for Sunday. And I kick off my season edition of “Speaking Out” with a bang and a tribute to the new season. Good luck in Week 1.

Are you ready to start Brandon Marshall?

Almost every fantasy owner knows already the Broncos have had their fair share of problems with the troubled wideout over the years. But fantasy owners also know that when the season rolls so does

Marshall. Last Sunday the blue and orange No. 15 was reinstated after his nine-day team suspension for his foolish antics during practice. So how is

Marshall conducting himself now?

Well, according to the

Associated Press, Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has had no complaints about his star wide receiver. In fact

Marshall’s results thus far have been all positive. “He’s had a good week of practice,” McDaniels said. “He’s practiced hard. He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do.”

Could it be that

Marshall has actually learned something from all this drama?  Shannon Sharpe believes so, and he is one of the players who reached out to

Marshall during his suspension. “I told him I think he should let his play do his talking. I think he’s handling this in a very positive way,” Sharpe said. “Moving forward, I don’t think the Broncos are going to have any problems with Brandon Marshall.”

While I don’t know if I can agree with Shannon’s last statement I can say that it may be worth starting

Marshall this week. He’ll have a chip on his shoulder and will be heavily relied on to get the Broncos passing game going. The good news is that with his offseason fantasy freefall he’s not as much of a gamble for those who took him as their second or third wide receiver.

IDP News: Williams and Williams will not be suspended.

An uproar could be heard echoing throughout the NFL on Friday. According to the

Boston Globe, in Minnesota a federal appeals court paved the way for Kevin and Pat Williams to play all season in 2009; this on the heels of the NFL suspending the inside pair for violating the league‘s anti-doping policy. 

“It’s a big sigh of relief to know we’re going to get to play the whole season,” Kevin said. “We were looking forward to

Cleveland not knowing what the future may hold. But it’s great to get if off of our shoulders in the season and know we can deal with it in the offseason.”

As expected, commissioner Roger Goodell wasn’t too pleased with the outcome. “It puts in jeopardy that players in

Minnesota in any sport – this could affect other sports – are subject to a different standard than in the other 49 states. You recognize that it is a fairness question for all the athletes,” Goodell said in an interview on WFAN-AM in

New York.

Here we go again … who wants to play the role of Arlen Specter? Anyone? Well, at least IDP owners can rest easy knowing that the two will play a full season, and that doesn’t just go for those who own one of two big men, it goes for those who own any Vikings defensive player.

Is Boldin going to play?

Can you believe it (sarcasm) — Anquan Boldin is on the injury report again? The worst part is that it’s only Week 1. According to the



, Boldin’s status won’t be determined until pregame warmups Sunday.

“It’s improving every day,” Boldin said of his right hamstring injury.

At the same time Boldin also acknowledges the fact that he has a tough decision ahead of him. “You don’t want to risk getting injured and then being out four weeks,” he said. “That would be stupid. It’s a long season. It’s only Week 1. I’d rather sit out game one as opposed to sitting out four or five other games.”

Am I surprised by this news? Nope. Is this just the beginning of another injury dampened season for Boldin owners? I hope not. Should fantasy owners start him this week? That depends on his game-time status. Play the waiting game if you dare.


Cassel be ready?

High expectations are expected for Chiefs new signal caller Matt Cassel in 2009, but the question is: will he be ready come Week 1? In case you missed it, Cassel sprained his knee in

Kansas City’s third preseason contest. According to, he returned to practice on Monday and has been improving every day. 

“My knees feel pretty good, and I wouldn’t be out there if I wasn’t up for the challenge,”

Cassel said. “Ultimately, it’s going to be up to the trainers to decide whether I’m ready to go, and it’s up to coach to determine whether I should play.”

First-year head coach Todd Haley has a big decision in front of him, especially considering that the Chiefs will be on the road this week against a very hostile Baltimore Ravens defense. “I think this is something that will go down to the wire with the quarterback,” Haley said. “On game day, we’ll still be trying to figure it out.”

My advice for fantasy owners is to not start him even if he does play, because the Ravens were the second-best pass defense in the NFL last season. I expect nothing to change in 2009. Ray Lewis still mans the middle “shortstop” spot of the defense and Ed Reed will track down every ball and runner that comes his way in “centerfield.” As for 

Cassel moving forward, his knee injury should be closely monitored if you do indeed own him, even as a backup.


Davis catching rave reviews?

According to the

San Francisco

49ers Examiner, 49ers’ tight end Vernon Davis has been getting rave reviews from head coach Mike Singletary and has now been named captain.

“I’m really excited about

Vernon. I think he exemplified a lot of those qualities that you have to have in order to be a leader,” Singletary said. “I know he told me last year that that’s something he wanted to strive to be, and I felt that this year, just simply by what many of his teammates have said, comments the coaches have made about the maturity level that Vernon has shown and the professionalism and the work ethic and all of those things, I’m very excited about him.”

Could the 49ers tight end finally be ready to catch on with the elite? That remains to be seen. Is he worth starting this week? Probably not, unless of course he’s your only option. 

Sunday’s Breakout Player Projection – Chansi Stuckey

During the third preseason game against the Giants, Jets starter Mark Sanchez hooked up with Stuckey four times for 69 yards in the first half, including a 31-yard touchdown pass. This week against the Texans he will have no problem stretching the field, and I project he’ll go for at least 130 and 1-2 touchdowns. Forget Jerricho Cotchery, I have my money on Stuckey in Week 1.

On the Injury Report: fantasy players of note

CB Charles Tillman – Questionable

           RB Pierre Thomas – Out

WR Chaz Schilens – Out                       

   QB Matt Schaub – Probable

RB Jerious Norwood – Probable            

   QB Matt Cassel – Questionable

DE John Abraham – Probable                

  WR Anquan Boldin – Questionable

RB Brian Westbrook – Probable            

   WR Steve Breaston – Probable

WR Kevin Curtis – Probable            

   RB Knowshon Moreno – Questionable

TE Dustin Keller – Probable                   

   CB Eric Wright – Questionable

WR Kevin Walter – Questionable          

    QB Kyle Orton – Questionable

QB Carson Palmer – Probable               

   WR Antonio Bryant – Probable

QB Marc Bulger – Probable

Speaking Out: Football season is here!

I can hear it now: “Come on McCarthy, what are you thinking?!” 

Those would be the words being hollered as my diehard Packer fan father points and charges at his 52 inches of pure love on Sundays.

Ah yes, football season is here, and it’s the best thing I look forward to, next to of course that three-letter word and vacationing in Tahiti with my wife, the NFL Network and that three letter word again.

From watching Hines Ward putting licks on beasts that he shouldn’t be challenging, to Aaron Rodgers throwing strikes to Donald Driver — nobody shimmies and leaps like him — to watching Adrian Peterson dash down the sidelines like Forrest Gump running through the jungle carrying soldiers, there is nothing like the sights and sounds of football season.

Grills will be firing up at stadiums across

America. Face paint will be caked on in spots nobody should see to those who are brave enough to advertise their work for millions. The roar of crowds will echo through city streets, off tall buildings, and into bars, living rooms and even those electronic store TV display areas.

It means that NASCAR’s left turns are almost over. It means that the baseball heartaches will soon be turned to football thumps. Most of all, it means that I now have a reason for doing absolutely nothing come Sunday.

There’s nothing like sitting on your favorite chair in front of your HD TV (I guess everyone has one of those now) with a bowl of chip dip on the table, a bag of Doritos on the lap and a Miller Lite inside a cozy cupped in hand (rum and coke if you prefer harder liquor) watching Brett Favre trying to keep his consecutive streak alive, Charles Woodson turning in to the player he’s supposed to be and moon-master Randy Moss destroying opposing defenses down the field.

The fact I wrote an 88-word sentence about what I feel my Sunday experience should tell enough about how excited I truly am for the 2009 season. I could go on forever, as could many more. This I know for sure. It’s football season, so pop a top, apply the face paint, pig out on appetizers, cheer like you’ve never cheered before and enjoy every moment the 2009 season brings.

Consider it your getaway, kind of like vacationing in

Tahiti and that three-letter word … well at least that’s the idea.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy Sunday’s games!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for  E-mail him at


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